02/10/10 — Winds wallop Wayne with gusts as high as 55 mph likely today

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Winds wallop Wayne with gusts as high as 55 mph likely today

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 10, 2010 1:47 PM

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Wayne County today until 9 p.m. Winds that could gust as high as 55 mph, combined with rain-soaked ground, pose a threat of downed trees and power lines. People living just south of Goldsboro near the Neuse River also face the added threat of flooding.

The county closed Ferry Bridge Road between Stevens Mill Road and the Old Smithfield Road on Tuesday morning. Water is already crossing the road, said Mel Powers, the county's emergency management and security coordinator.

"We probably will see more roads affected, but as far as residents, I think we will be fine," he said. "We, of course, remain in contact with the National Weather Service and Army Corps of Engineers."

Also, emergency services personnel monitor rain gauges and run daily routes to check areas that are known to be affected by flooding.

"We are expecting high winds and already have recorded a gust of 43 mph at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base," said Scott Sharpe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Raleigh office. "We could see gusts of 50-55 mph."

Sustained winds of 20-30 mph with gusts of 45-55 mph will be out of the west northwest. The highest winds are expected from mid-morning to about mid-afternoon before subsiding somewhat. However, it will remain breezy through the night and into Thursday.

"This type of wind combined with the wet top soil you can expect to see downed trees and power lines and possible power outages," Sharpe said.

"The worry is not so much the wind itself, but the rain and snow/ice (soaked ground)," Powers said. "It is not 40-45 mph gusts once in a while, it is consistent during the day."

That could mean downed trees, he said.

Powers urges local residents to exercise caution if they are around trees and while driving.

High temperatures today will just crack the low-40s, some 10 degrees below normal. The wind-chill will make it feel more like the low-30s.

Winds should drop to about 20 mph with gusts of 3o-35 tonight. That will make the expected low of 27-28 feel more like the low teens.

Thursday's highs will be in the mid-40s. It will continue breezy with winds in the 15-20 mph range and gusts between 25-30 mph.

No major reports of damage had been received by the county's emergency operations center this morning. However, the high-speed sustained winds had caused a number of alarm systems to produce false alarms.

Meanwhile, the Neuse River was at 19.4 feet around 4:15 a.m. this morning -- 1.5 feet about flood stage.

The river is expected to crest around 21 feet sometime Thursday evening then to gradually recede, Sharpe said.

Sharpe said the flooding could cause problems for people along Stevens Mill Road and the Riverview Trailer Park and other areas, particularly south of the city.

The good news is that there is no rain in the forecast for the next several days, he said.

The next chance of rain is Saturday. Sharpe said the rain is expected more along the North Carolina-South Carolina border and if there is any local precipitation is should be light.